Adams wins again on All Black night

By Michelle Curran

Valerie Adams with her sportswoman of the year trophy at the Halberg Awards ceremony last night. Photo / Richard Robinson
Valerie Adams with her sportswoman of the year trophy at the Halberg Awards ceremony last night. Photo / Richard Robinson

Champion shot-putter Valerie Adams scooped her sixth Halberg Award last night as the All Blacks were rewarded for their World Cup triumph.

Unlike the slim margin of their cup final victory or the identity of the fourth-choice first five who kicked the winning points, most predicted an All Black sweep.

The triumphant team took three major categories before finishing the night with the supreme Halberg Award.

Sir Graham Henry was crowned coach of the year and captain Richie McCaw sportsman of the year before the All Blacks won team of the year.

They also won the award for moment of the year, as voted by the public - the final whistle in the final that brought to an end a 24-year wait for rugby's ultimate prize.

It was the first time since 2003, when the Silver Ferns won the World Netball Championship, that one sport had cleaned up to such an extent.

And it was the first time since the 1987 All Blacks won the inaugural World Cup that rugby had claimed the supreme award, widely acknowledged as New Zealand's most sought-after sporting accolade.

Henry was honoured after finishing his All Blacks tenure as one of the most successful rugby coaches of all time, with a record of 88 wins in 103 tests.

As well as winning the Webb Ellis Cup last year, the All Blacks under Henry have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003, won the Tri Nations five times and achieved three Grand Slams against Northern Hemisphere unions.

Henry got the award ahead of Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens, rowing coach Dick Tonks and women's team pursuit cycling coach Dayle Cheatley.

McCaw finished the World Cup as the most-capped All Black (103), despite taking a serious foot injury into the tournament.

He won the sportsman of the year title ahead of All Black teammate Jerome Kaino, world single scull rowing champion Mahe Drysdale and double Olympic equestrian gold medallist Mark Todd

Two-time Halberg Award winner Sir John Walker and All Whites coach Ricki Herbert - whose side generated controversy when they won the top prize last year without winning a game at their World Cup - announced the All Blacks as winners of the night's big prize. The trophy was presented by Sir Brian Lochore and David Kirk, coach and captain respectively of the 1987 team.

Adams took the sportswoman of the year gong after going through the year unbeaten. She won ahead of K1 200m world canoeing champion Lisa Carrington, world champion-of-champions bowls singles winner Jo Edwards and triathlete Andrea Hewitt.

Sophie Pascoe won the new Halberg Trust disabled sportsperson of the year category after taking two golds in world-record time at the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships.

The emerging talent award was won by 17-year-old shot-put sensation Jacko Gill.

Three former Halberg Award winners, John Kirwan, Philippa Baker and Brenda Lawson, were inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

Former weightlifting champion and long-time New Zealand Olympic team selector Bruce Cameron was presented with the Lion Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Perhaps the biggest applause went to 1960 Olympic 5000m champion and Halberg Trust founder Sir Murray Halberg, when he was awarded the Sport New Zealand leadership award.

WINNERS
* 2011 Halberg Award: World Cup All Blacks
* Westpac Sportsman of the Year: Richie McCaw
* Westpac Sportswoman of the Year: Valerie Adams
* Westpac Sports Team of the Year: All Blacks
* Halberg Trust Disabled Sportsperson of the Year: Sophie Pascoe
* SKY Sport Coach of the Year: Sir Graham Henry
* Westpac Emerging Talent Award: Jacko Gill
* New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment: All Blacks


- APNZ

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